Although I entitled this “Things To Do Until Baseball Returns,” I could have just as easily called it, “How Ken has spent his extended spring vacation.”
First and foremost, spend some time with your kids and educate them about something. Don’t worry if you don’t have a teaching degree. You couldn’t do any worse than most public schools. Their five-day spring break has now turned into a six-month-long summer vacation. After you come to grips with that, you may as well make the most of it.
Weather permitting, put on your glove and go play some catch.
At Least There’s Some Baseball
If you’re feeling absolutely desperate without baseball, there’s plenty of classic baseball games on TV. FS1, ESPN, MLB Channel and others show games each day.
If you have any really unintelligent friends, you can always make money betting on the replays. Try it, it’s fun. Start by spotting them like six runs. Next, just about the time they’re ready to demand payment, get yourself a refreshment. Now tell them to wait until after the bottom of the ninth. When your friend realizes that he was had, he probably won’t be your friend anymore, but hey, you’re supposed to be practicing social distancing anyway.
Next, take your winnings from the ballgame and go buy some gas, as your lawn probably needs to be cut by now. While you’re at it, fill up the car(s), as gas prices haven’t been this low in decades. I’m not sure what gas costs near your home, but I paid $1.54 a gallon the other day. Kind of made me want to go cruising around for a while, but the wife demanded that I get the lawn cut.
If you’re the green thumb type, it’s just about time to get the rototiller out (or rented) and start plowing up land for the garden. Tomato seeds and some of the other vegetables should have already been started indoors, and it won’t be too much longer (in most places) before you can start planting outside. We had a huge garden last year, but once the deer helped themselves to almost 120 of our corn stalks over the course of three days, I lost interest.
The One That Got Away
If you’re able to escape the house – no, I’m not talking about COVID-19 lockdowns, I’m talking about getting away from your wife and her honey-do list – get out and do some fishing. It’s still a little early in the season for some species, but this is the perfect time to go after some of the others. Again, I’m not sure where you may live, but here in Missouri, they’ve waived the fishing license requirement through April 15th and there are plans on extending the waiver, so people have something to do.
Every fisherman likes to BS about the one that got away. If your wife is anything like mine, she’ll generally flee the house when your fishing stories start. Well, not anymore! She’s trapped now. Start chewing her ear off about the “massive fish that you almost caught,” then, once she’s thoroughly annoyed, she’ll avoid you at all costs for a while. This will get her off your back about working around the house. Trust me, works like a charm.
Binge on Netflix
If you’re the homebody type (and aren’t we all, these days?) then there’s a plethora of good stuff to watch on TV. Until this outbreak started, my TV watching life consisted of MLB, Jeopardy, ABC World News and a couple of other shows (more on them later), but now I have something to watch just about every night.
Better Call Saul tops the list of my to-do TV shows list this spring. Saul Goodman (aka Jimmy McGill) is played by Bob Odenkirk, a native Chicagoan and lifelong Cubs fan. He’s the lawyer you’d want when you get in trouble – just so long as ethics don’t count. The new season (5th) is just about over, but the first few seasons can be found on Netflix.
If you’re going to start watching that though, you might want to see Breaking Bad first. Better Call Saul is a prequel, but could very well be a stand-alone show. Neither my wife nor I had any desire to watch a show about manufacturing meth, but trust me, you’ll be riveted.
Also on Netflix, all three seasons of Ozark are now out (the third season was released last week). Marty Byrde (Justin Bateman) is a financial planner who gets himself involved in laundering money for a Mexican drug cartel. Marty’s good at what he does, but just the minute he gets himself out of trouble and danger, another new obstacle surfaces. CAUTION: This series is full of strong language, nudity and adult subject matter. It is, however, phenomenally written and is very suspenseful.
Available on Hulu and the Fox Now streaming channel is a new show called “Deputy”. Season One just ended (it aired on Fox), but you can catch it all by streaming. Deputy Bill Hollister (Stephen Dorff) becomes the Sheriff of Los Angeles County under a weird set of circumstances. Fighting the politics and corruption that come with the job, Hollister is determined to do things his own way – no matter who it annoys.
The next one that my wife and I stumbled upon was another new show called For Life. This show is broadcast on ABC and YouTube TV. Inspired by the real-life story of Isaac Wright Jr., Aaron Wallace was wrongfully convicted of drug trafficking. Instead of taking a plea deal, Wallace goes to trial and end up buying himself a life sentence. Finding a loophole in the system, he obtains his law license. He then starts representing inmates, as he builds his own case for proving his wrongful conviction.
Wallace faces two problems – first, no judge wants to deal with an incarcerated felon turned lawyer. Next, the dirty district attorney’s office that put him away isn’t about to make Wallace’s life easy. Good stuff and you can find every episode online.
Also good, if you want to catch up on multiple seasons, are Station-19 and The Rookie.
Go People Watching… From Home
Do you like people watching? The problem is, it’s not safe to do that in public these days, but you can do it from your couch. If you want to see some real trainwrecks, check out the Netflix Original Series, “Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness”. Warning: Strong language in this one.
Wikipedia defines the show as “An exploration of big cat breeding and its bizarre underworld, populated by eccentric characters.” This is a documentary about a guy named Joe Exotic (aka Joe Maldonado, Joe Maldonado-Passage, Joe Schreibvogel) who raises big cats. The show features several of the countries largest big-cat owners, and let me tell you, they make the carnival crowd look relatively normal.
Exotic was successfully sued to the tune of a million dollars by a woman who runs a big cat rescue in Tampa (Carole Baskin). He ends up in even more trouble when he won’t let a sleeping dog (err, uh, cat) lie. After making several internet threats about wanting Baskin dead, the feds closed in. Exotic finally gets 79 years in prison for multiple citations involving the animals, along with two counts of solicitation of murder. Reports now say that Joe Exotic has been moved from prison to a medical facility after testing positive for COVID-19.
If all of this isn’t enough, this goof ran for office. He attempted a bid for president in 2016. Next, he ran for Governor of Oklahoma in 2018 (where he got 18% of the vote).
Watch this series, you’ll surely appreciate your true friends a hell of a lot more when it’s over.
Please Stay Safe
Well, this has certainly made me feel more like Roger Ebert than Ken Rosenthal. I’m sure there are better things to do until baseball returns, but for now, that’s what I’ve done. Lots of TV, but the problem is, there isn’t much else to do these days.
By the time you get through this list, you should have had to cut the lawn at least two more times, so at least there’s that! Stay safe. If you have any other suggestions for me, please leave a comment below. I am BORED!
Keep practicing your social distancing (God, I’ve already learned to hate that term). The sooner everyone does so, the sooner we can get through this awful pandemic and get back to life.
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